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When Maxine P. Gill was laid off from her job as a sales and marketing director for Comcast Corp. in 2008, she decided to explore her longtime dream of entrepreneurship. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” she says. After considering a rib restaurant venture with a business partner, she decided to look into franchises instead since they have a structure and support system already in place.
While sorting through opportunities with a franchise consultant, the 48-year-old quickly learned that franchise costs ran from about $50,000 to $200,000. She was particularly drawn to home-based opportunities because they tended to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, which would allow her to start small and grow her business over time. Using about $80,000 in savings to cover startup costs that included the $35,000 franchise fee, Gill purchased a College Nannies & Tutors franchise that provides nanny and tutoring services in October 2008. She officially opened College Nannies & Tutors of Bethesda in February 2009. Her territory consists of the Maryland cities of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Potomac, and Cabin John, and also Washington, D.C.
In 2009, the business, based out of her Laurel, Maryland-home, grossed $131,000, and in 2010, it had nearly tripled its revenues to $348,000. This February, Gill signed a lease for outside office space and is now based in Bethesda, but she admits that starting from home proved to be a sound business strategy. “Working from home allowed me to accumulate funds and take my time to find the right location,” she says. Gill is one of many who have found success in home-based franchising. And while that success is never guaranteed and many such ventures fail, franchising remains a popular avenue for wealth generation.